3 steps to getting your kids to ditched canned soup and love your homemade. Is this a dream of yours like it was for me?
I live in Maine (having grown up in Vermont) and lets just say its flipping cold most of the year and soup is a staple.
Now, I can handle some canned tomato soup with a grilled cheese every now and then, but what I really want is homemade soup that eats like a meal. I want chunky, meaty, spicy, thick, creamy, and everything in between because it will be on our table at least once a week during the winter.
My kids have always dug the "character soups" (you know the soup with floating Elsa's and Mario Brother's etc.). I figured if my kids liked weird blobs of noodle princesses and cars floating around their bowl they could handle my homemade chicken soup with carrots and egg noodles.
[insert laughing] Of COURSE they didn't like my homemade soup. Because I had always served them canned soup and kids don't accept new things without a fight. (Or is that just my angels?) My homemade soup was different and weird. Pffft.
This was just not going fly. I wanted to be done with the processed canned food, and I wanted to enjoy big steaming bowls of fresh homemade soups and stews with my whole family. We all needed to get on the same page here. It took several months of experimenting, but I finally got my kids to the point here they would accept my version of their favorite soup chicken soup. It took over a year for them to really love it and request. About 2 years into the journey, my son and daughter now love chowders, stews, and hearty soups galore. Yes, this took time ( I know, I know!), but it happened stress free and with a simple 3 step process that anyone can make work for them. Are you ready? Here we go....
Step 1. Stop buying all canned soup.
As little kids, my two ate canned soup at least once a week. I decided not to buy it for a couple months before getting them to try my version. How long you decide to eliminate it before you serve your new homemade variety will depend on how frequently you are serving it. Bottom line : It must disappear for awhile so they start to miss "Soup and Sandwich Sundays" and also kinda forget what the canned stuff tasted like.
Step 2. make your own version with your favorite recipe and edit out any know "enemies".
When dicing your chicken and veg I want you to emulate the size and shape of the canned varieties. (check out the Campell's soup dice photo above!) Teeny tiny bits of veggies are the name of the game. You will also want to nix the known veg that your kids won't touch. In our house it was celery and onion. In the beginning I didnt put them into any of my recipes. In fact, it is only recently that we have come to love and accept those two aromatic hooligans. BONUS TIP: when eating, let your kids pick around the bits and pieces floating in their bowl at there own will. Don't harass them about finishing the carrots etc. Even if they are fussy about something initially, over time they get less and less vigilant about keeping it out of their mouths and eventually enough sneak in to them they just don't seem to mind anymore.
STEP 3. Keep serving it.
When you make your batch of comforting, delicious soup, I want you to divide it into several kid sized portions and pop them into the freezer for later meals. Notice how I say soup and sandwich a lot? Its because I want you to serve your soup with another filling component so If they choose to only nibble at the soup in the beginning, they have something else to fill them up. The point is to keep serving it, and keep demanding that at the very least it gets sampled. Not finishing is just fine.
FINAL OUTCOME. Canned soup is now like a faraway dream. They remember it, but the exact details are fuzzy around the edges. The kids are now familiar with your homemade soup and will try it with out complaint. Slowly more and more gets finished with out your prompting. Once the kids love the flavor of your version, you can start to tinker with the size of the vegetables, the quantity of them, and adding in new ingredients to see how it goes. Once you get their favorite variety down you can repeat the process with new recipes like beef stew or corn chowder etc.
The name of the game here is patience. Adjust new recipes so they feel more familiar and appealing and then keep at it. Keep serving it even if it doesn't get a rave review the first go.
Need a recipe to try?
My families favorite Kid Friendly Corn Chowder
Chicken and Rice Soup (from The Pioneer Woman). Weirdly , this recipe has yellow food coloring. Typically, I don't dig added dyes to food...but if this little trick makes it look more familiar and gets your kid to try it.... I say it is a worthy trade-off!